Intended for healthcare professionals


Care of dying review shows shortcomings in palliative care

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 15 May 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3262
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

Most hospitals have not put in place some of the fundamental elements needed to help ensure a “good” death for patients, such as seven day access to specialist palliative care and mandatory training for staff caring for dying patients, an audit led by the Royal College of Physicians has found.

The audit was funded by Marie Curie Cancer Care and Public Health England, and its findings, published on 15 May, showed that just one in five hospitals (21%) had face to face palliative care services available seven days a week, despite a longstanding recommendation that they be provided.1 Most hospitals (73%) provided face to face services on weekdays only.

Mandatory training in caring for dying patients was a requirement for doctors at only 19% of trusts and for nurses at only 28%. In the past year, 18% had provided no such training at all.

The audit’s report, The National Care of the Dying Audit for Hospitals, recommended that hospitals should provide face to face specialist palliative care services at least from 9 am to 5 pm, seven days …

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